Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is your advice to parents?
Sri Sri: Know how to ride a horse! When you sit on horseback, you must move with it. You have to rock with the motion otherwise your back will hurt. Parents have to rock. You have to swing with them, know them and gently guide. Sometimes you tighten the reins, sometimes loosen. It is the same with kids. Put your foot down sometimes, but also give them freedom.
Q: How do I come out of negative patterns in my life?
Sri Sri: Once you see yourself acting in a pattern, you are already stepping out of it.
Q: Dear Guruji, I have never been a spiritual or a true religious person. How can I learn to let go and believe?
Sri Sri: You don’t have to label yourself- I am spiritual, religious person etc. No need for it.
Just be natural, beautiful, good human being. That’s it!
If someone is not a beautiful human being and says, ‘I am a spiritual person or a religious person’, what is the use of that? What good he or she is for? Isn’t it? The purpose of spirituality is to make you a beautiful human being, the purpose of religion is to make you a righteous person, connected to the universe, to the universal spirit. And that’s what spirituality is and that’s what a simple, natural, normal human being is! Got it? Right, so it is better not to label yourself.
If you think you are a believer or a non believer, then even a non believer is a wrong label. Someone who says, ‘I am a non believer, I tell you, this is not true. You simply can’t honestly be a non believer; there is no honesty in it. Somewhere in some corner of your consciousness, you believe something; you know something, for your consciousness is very ancient. You don’t know your consciousness, it is so old, so ancient, there are so many layers, so many impressions on our mind, on our consciousness- it is such an amazing phenomenon!
Q: I always run into obstacles when there is something I really want to achieve. What should I do?
Sri Sri: Whatever intention you put, that will manifest. Do not label yourself. There should be no “always.” Accept that you are unaware of your own potentiality. You may think you always have some difficulty, but thinking so is what points the intention in a negative direction. Just know that whatever you want will happen.
Q: You say that choice is mine and blessing is yours. How do I know I have made the right choice?
Sri Sri: Time will tell. If it has come with a blessing, it will be good.
Q: How do I find strength in myself?
Sri Sri: Be well rested and have your heart in the right place. You need both mental and physical rest. Thinking “Oh I have done so much!” will only bore you down. Just know that you will have enough time and energy to do what you were born to do in this life.
Q: What do you say about doubts? Should we have no doubts?
Sri Sri: : No, I never said you shouldn’t have doubts, you should have doubts, have as many doubts as you can, for truth can never be concealed by doubts . Yes, doubt can’t defeat the truth, so you doubt as much as you want, but finish it quickly otherwise you will be wasting so much of time. Have as much of doubt as you want and then get over it.
I remember one incidence which happened in Sweden. There was a public meeting/ gathering and a journalist was sitting right behind. He came forward to me and said- “I want to ask you a question”.
I said- “yes, go ahead.”
He asked, “Are you enlightened?”
I said, “No”.
But he insisted, “No, please tell the truth. I know, you are always making fun, always kidding, please tell me the truth”.
I again said, “No”.
You see, my answer of NO should have finished the conversation there, but he won’t listen and kept insisting, “No, no, you are not telling the truth, tell me the truth, are you enlightened? I want to know the answer right away”.
See when you say , ‘no’ –it finishes , there is no need for further proof or explanation, chapter over, but this person won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I said, “So what takes you not to take a ‘no’ for answer? You should be happy with the answer now”.
But he said, “No, I don’t believe it!
I said, “You see, there is something inside you which is telling you something, some deeper inner feeling saying –this is not correct, right? So you have the answer then!”
So often, you listen to your own inner voice but doubt it from the surface mind but deep inside your heart and mind are saying something, you feel something different- a gut feeling and that is what you always rely on and not on what someone else says, isn’t it so? If someone says, “I love you”, do you take them on face value? No, you look at their face, you look at them and even without looking at them, you feel something deep inside. So, what I am telling you is generally true. And every one has this faculty of intuition and what can overshadow this faculty is your greed.
Greed can overshadow the faculty of your intuition, being over ambitious can overshadow your intuition. Do you understand what I am saying? Wisdom gets covered with greed, feverishness or with over ambition. So, doubt as much as you can!
Q: Guruji, are we influenced by mistakes from previous birth? If so, then how does one prevent getting influenced by that or find a way to remove that influence?
Sri Sri: You don’t have to make too much effort. Just do your practices, your Sudarshan kriya, sing and meditate and all the bad karmas and impressions, they will get washed away by themselves. And with few advanced courses, few hollow and empty meditations, all impressions get released.
Q: Dear Guruji, I heard and understood the truth, but it is not my experience, please help me realize the truth . Yours truly.
Sri Sri: Good! Good to be in space of, “I don’t know”, then you have a chance of knowing. If you think, you know then you are stuck with the concept. In the Upanishad, it is beautifully said, “one who says, ‘I don’t know’, he knows, and the one who says he knows, doesn’t know!”
Q: What if we feel we have got more in life than we deserve and are afraid to lose it?
Sri Sri: Be grateful and prayerful. Know that whoever has given it to you cares for you and would not take it away. Do service. Put your attention on giving back to society. This is giving back to God. If negative thoughts, insecurities, doubts come into the mind, chant Om Namah Shivaya. This itself will put you on the right track. Take the past as destiny and the future as free will. What was meant to happen, happened. We tend to do the reverse. People who are foolish think the past is free will and the future is destiny. This only makes you miserable in the present.
‘Om Namah Shivaya’ has been there for thousands of years. The five elements are represented there and each sound in the mantra corresponds to one of them. For instance, Om is the life force or divinity. Chanting energizes our psyche, our inner self. It is very powerful and we should chant this everyday. It will keep away depression. Just try this. You will see that whenever you are low, saying Om Namah Shivaya removes the negativity.